Farewell to a national hero
Cape Town - Struggle stalwart and education activist Graeme Bloch was laid to rest yesterday.
Bloch’s funeral started with a church service at St George's Cathedral before he was cremated in a private ceremony at Maitland Crematorium.
Only 150 people were allowed to attend the service due to Covid-19 protocols.
As his coffin was carried in with his family following behind it, his wife, former deputy secretary of the ANC, Cheryl Carolus held back tears.
In attendance were some of the former and current ANC prominent members while others shared their experiences with him in recorded messages.
His brother Lance Bloch said Graeme was a political hero but also their brother and that he was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, an uncommon brain disorder, before his 60th birthday.
He said as time went on the disease ravaged his body but left his mind intact.
“We grew up in a family of seven children, and at times, our mother would forget our names. He protected and cared for his younger siblings while at the same time not being afraid for himself,” he said.
Bloch said his brother from an early youth fought for the poor, marginalised and those who had no or little voice.
He said he was a man of bravery who would never back down.
“They could break his bones, torture him in all kinds of ways, including making him stand for 48 hours at a time during interrogation but they never broke his spirit, and whatever they tried, he never talked he was a man of great courage, willing to pay with his life rather than betray his principles or friends,” he said.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said in her recorded tribute they truly lost one of their own.
She said Bloch lived an extraordinary life in extraordinary times and dedicated his life to the struggle.
She said he criticised the service delivery of the Department of Basic Education because he wanted more for South African children and he always meant well.
Motshekga said he is easily one of the national heroes because of his activism from a very young age until his death.
“He loved the ANC but loved the people of this country even more,” she said.